7.30.2016

Luke 12:13-21 (1)

ppt

Live for God
Reading: Luke 12:13-21
Additional reading: Philippians 2: 5-11, Colossians 3:1-11, 1 Timothy 6
Hymns: 302, 376, 316

In our text today, we read about someone who recognized that Jesus was a good teacher.
I guess that this man loved to listen to Jesus.

But today, this man could not focus on Jesus’ teaching, because at this time, his older brother took all the inheritances for himself.
His older brother’s greed made this man upset and tired.

So, he could not focus on Jesus’ teaching, even though Jesus was right in front of him.
Then this man stopped Jesus’ teaching and asked:
"Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me."

Jesus said something like this:
"I am not a judge between you and your brother.”

It seemed Jesus was saying:
“That is not my job as God’s Messiah.
I didn’t come to solve that kind of problem.
I came to serve God.”

Then as God’s Messiah, Jesus said something like this:
“Be on your guard against all kinds of greed.
Protect your heart from this kind of greed.
Be free from all kinds of greed.
Don’t fight greed with greed.
But first remove your own greed from your heart.
Then arm with generosity.
Then attack your brother with your generosity.
Then you might free him from his greed.”

Maybe Jesus is saying because of his brother’s greed, this man is also becoming greedy, as well.
Ao he was reacting to it because he also wanted to have some of what his brother wanted to have.
Then they might get mad at each other because of each other’s greed.

Then Jesus might have said something like this to him:
“Your happiness does not depend on having a lot of possessions.
So let it go.
Don’t worry.
Trust God.
Fill your mind with my faith.
Then your life will be filled with God’s riches.
Because God provides.”

Jesus is guiding him to see what God stores for him.
With God, he could live a better and freer life.

Jesus guides this man to live with God’s unconditional love and generosity.
If he understands God, he may live very thankfully.
He would be satisfied as he sees things through the eyes of faith.
Then he lives generously with God.
Then people around him may also change and share their wealth and blessing that they receive from God.

In order to help this man serve God like that, Jesus told this story:
There was a rich man.
He got really wealthy because his investment created a great result.
His land produced a great wealth.

But he didn’t know how to use this wealth.
So he thought to himself:
“Hey, my barn is not big enough.
Then, I tear down my old barn and build big one!
Then I store all my grains.
Then I'll have enough to retire.
I am just going to eat, drink and enjoy living with my stuff."

He thoughts as if his life purpose was to eat, drink and enjoy living.
His life is more than that.

But at this time, he had no thought about God.
He was not interested in serving God or knowing God’s greater purpose for his life.

If you think about it, since he was wealthy now, he could have more time to serve God.
Since he didn’t worry about money anymore, he could serve God and live for God.
He could study and learn more about God.
He could go and listen to Jesus.
He could grow as a person.
He could work for his society.
Then he could be truly happy.

Now he had time to dream and think for God and for neighbors.
He could use some of his wealth for God and for others.
He could help many people.

But he thought about only his belly.
He only thought about eating, drinking and enjoying his life.
Then he felt God speaking to him, saying:
“Ouch.
You shouldn’t be thinking like that.
Otherwise, you will die.
And your wealth will be taken away from you and will be given to someone who knows how to handle this wealth for God.”

Then Jesus concluded the story:
“This is the result of anyone who only stores up things for himself or herself but not for God."

Why is Jesus telling in this story?
Jesus was trying to help people like him to think about managing God’s wealth.
God has given him.
So now he needed to manage God’s wealth and money for God while he had God’s money and wealth to serve God’s good purpose.
He need to manage God’s wealth for God.
When he does, he will be truly happy and live well, because God will continually bless him.

In the story that Jesus told, we may notice one more thing:
This man was just thinking about using all for his belly.
But then God was offended by his thought and spoke his verdict.

It turned out that his thought came to God as a prayer:
Then his bad prayer brought bad consequences.
The way he thinks create its own results.
His bad thought makes God realize that God needs to find someone else who could manage this wealth for God.

Have you learned that our thoughts are prayer?
So when we shift our thought, God may shift our world.
Some say our life is a result of our thought.
Our life is a result of what we think about all the time.

So Jesus guides us to think good thoughts for God.
The Bible also encourages us to think some good thoughts.
It says: (Phil 4:8)
“Think about what is true, what is honorable, what is right, what is pure, what is lovely, what is wonderful.
Think about what is excellent or praiseworthy.
Think about these things.”

Why does the Bible ask us to think about these?
I guess, because thinking about these is prayer.
When we choose to think these good thought of faith, we are praying to transform our life and our world.

If we think about it, our thought not only influences God’s decision but also influences other people.
You know that, right?
Some may think:
“Nobody knows what I am thinking.
How could they know my thoughts?”

Well, sometimes, they know.
Somehow people sense it.
It seems that it is not difficult to know or sense it.

Here are some of evidences:
Does it ever happen to you?
You feel someone is looking at you.
You turn around.
Someone is indeed looking at you.

You think about someone or think about calling someone.
Then you meet that person.
Or you receive a phone call from him or her.

As you go out for a gathering, suddenly you feel:
“Oh, it is going to be great!
It is going to be a great day.”
Then you really had a great time with them.

Somehow you know.
You could feel it.
People also feel it and know.

How much more God may sense our thoughts?
So, Jesus guides us to think good thoughts for God.
Jesus guides us how to offer some good, and beautiful thoughts for God.
Jesus guides us to send some good thoughts, wishes, prayers and forgiving hearts to God.

In order to think these thoughts, we may ask God:
God, what do you want to do?

Then we may be able to think about God’s purpose for our life.
We may be able to think about God’s dream for us.
We may be able to think about good thoughts.
We may think about living for God.
We may think about how to manage our wealth, ability, talent and gift for God.
This is a great work of God's churches.
That is a prayer of God's churches.

Then by the grace of God, we may know how to live for God.
Then as the Holy Spirit is going to help us, we may even be able to do what Jesus wants us to do.
The Holy Spirit may lead us and help us learn to live in the Spirit.
Then we may know how to live according to God’s will.

Jesus fed 5000 people with 5 pieces of bread and 2 fishes.
This story tells us that God does not ask us whether we have enough resource and money.
It is not about how much we have.
Even if we don’t have enough, if we use what we have for God, God can do a great miracle with it.
If we want to serve God, God can multiply what we have now and do a great miracle according to God’s abundance and riches.

Now let’s think about the life of Jesus again.
Jesus reduced his possession to minimum to live a life of faith.
Jesus asks his students to leave everything and follow him.
So his students also left their home to follow their traveling Messiah.
They also carried the minimum.

Jesus and his students were carpenters, fishermen and tax collector and so on.
But they had to leave home and their jobs to follow God’s calling.

Then they were able to see the life of Jesus who lived traveling.
His life was full of miracles.
They saw Jesus trusted that God provide.
Trusting God, Jesus continually served people.
Then they saw and experienced that God provided.

So then when new students want to follow Jesus, they need to ask themselves, as well, looking through what they have:
“Do I really need these?
Will I be overburdened with my stuff so that I could not follow Jesus well?”

Then in order to follow Jesus, they may need to get rid of things, giving away or selling things.
Then they choose the things that only help them follow Jesus so that they may focus on Jesus as he teaches God’s wisdom.
Then they saw Jesus lived for God.
They saw Jesus has faith to live for God
They saw people wanted to use their wealth to support his ministry to the poor.

Even though Jesus was not working as a carpenter any more, Jesus never worried about money.
So we know Jesus has a great faith in God.
In fact, Jesus said:
“Don’t worry about money.
Don’t worry about that kind of stuff.
God will provide.
So learn the lesson that I am teaching.
I am teaching you how God works.
I am teaching you about the Gospel.
I am teaching you about forgiveness and love.
Learn what the Holy Spirit is teaching.
And share God's knowledge in the power of the Holy Spirit.”

But some couldn't follow Jesus, because they had so much wealth.
You can imagine that some people’s life was too complex, they could not follow Jesus.
They need faith to simplify their life to follow Jesus.
They need faith to have less to follow Jesus.

When we plan our life, we may also think about this:
Do we need to simplify our life so that we may follow Jesus and get to know him more?
Do we need to simplify our life, so that when Jesus asks us to move with him, we could move with him right away?

Jesus may be asking:
Can you reduce your stuff, so that you may follow me?
Do you want to simplify your life so that you may learn enough to explain how God thinks?
Can you simplify your life so that when God asks you, you may come with God’s leading?

Because sometimes, if we want to live the life of Jesus, we may need to own less and choose what we really need to follow Jesus.
We may know what we have to have in order to follow Jesus.

When we could not let go of something, we may need to pray about it.
When we realize that our faith is not that strong enough yet, then we may need to have that thing to follow Jesus.
If we could not get rid of something, because our faith is weak, then we may need to work around it.

For example, let’s say you are saying like this:
“If I don’t have a house to live, I could not focus on Jesus and follow him.
I might always think about how to get a house.
I may not able to stop thinking about getting a house.”

Then you may need to have a house.
Then you may need to recognize your weakness before God.
This honest awareness may help us to be more generous to others.
Then we may also recognize that other people may have their weakness.
So as we discover who we are in God, we may be more generous to others.
You know what I mean?

That means, we don’t try to do something that we don’t have faith for yet.
If we do, we may not be able to carry on very long.
So we wait until we have faith.
We try to pray and grow in faith.

So likewise, if you need to have enough money so that you could focus on Jesus and follow him, you may need to learn to save enough so that you may focus on learning of God and listening to God.
If you know what you need to have, you may organize your life accordingly so that you may follow Jesus without worrying about those things.

Maybe that is why Jesus asked his disciples:
“Ask, it will be given to you.
Seek, you will find.
Knock, the door will be opened to you.”

I guess Jesus was saying:
“You may have your own need to follow me.
So ask God so that you may follow me and live my life.”

There are many churches in this world.
Then as we pray for those churches, we may also pray that their church life is simple so that they may focus on serving God according to what God truly desires.

If our church activities or our social activities do not serve its purpose, we try to organize our church involvement and our social commitment as much as we can so that you may focus on Jesus.
We may ask ourselves:
Do I need to simplify my church life so that I may get to know God more?
Do I need to simplify my social life so that I may be able to obey God more?

Each person needs to think about this so that each person may organize his or her life enough to follow Jesus.
Prayerfully, we may try to organize our own life so that we may give God more time and energy.
Then we may have more peace to follow Jesus.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for guiding us to live a wonderful life.
Help us to know how to live for God.
Help us to manage wealth and power for God.
Help us to manage money well for God.
Help us to live for God, trusting that you provide better than any other.
In Jesus name we pray.
Amen.

7.23.2016

Luke 6:27-38 (1)

ppt

Three practical guide to action
Reading: Luke 6:27-38
Blanks: Forgive, Give, use
Words: attract = cause to come near
Formula = established form
Influence = power to sway or affect

Today Jesus gave us three practical advice for our lives.
Jesus said:

1. Do not judge, and you will not be judged.
Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned.

2. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.

3. Give, and it will be given to you.
A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.
For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Today, let's dig deeper and think about why Jesus said.
First Jesus said:
“Do not judge.
And you will not be judged.
Do not condemn.
And you will not be condemned."

A pastor translated these verses like this:
“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults, unless, of course, you want the same treatment.
Don’t condemn those who are down.
That kind of hardness boomerang.
So be easy on people.
You’ll find life a lot easier.”

Why does Jesus ask us not to use our mind to judge, condemn, gossip, complain, or demonize?
Why does Jesus suggest us to give up judging, condemning, gossiping, complaining, or demonizing?

Maybe because as we focus on those things, we may have more things to judge, condemn, gossip, complain, or demonize.

Then because we think like that, we will be also judged, condemned, gossiped or complained about.
Then God may even judge or condemn us.
Then we may live a life of hell.

Now what is judging or condemning?
It is giving final verdicts as if we were God.
It is like pretending to be God who is perfect.
It is like pretending to have power to say the final verdict about a person, like God.
But we don’t have power to judge or condemn others like God.

But anyway why do we judge or condemn other people?
There may be many reasons.
One of them may be simply because we are different from them.
Or because we feel that we are more righteous than they are.
Or we may want to control other people by judging them, condemning them, giving them bad feedback and so on.
Or we judge them because we see in them what exist in us that we don't like.

We do this because we are sinners.
God knows that we are sinners whom God saved.
We are not saved because we are righteous.
We are saved because God is merciful.

So God asks us not to judge anyone.
God asks us not to think like that.
Because we don’t know what God will do for that person or with that person.
So God may ask us not to interfere with God’s work.

God may do something very new with that person.
As for God, everything is possible.
After God tries everything, God may say the final words.
Then God may judge or condemn.
But that is still God’s job.
Our job is to pray so that God may bring about change.
Our job is to ask God to do God’s will.

But then the Bible suggested that we should rebuke those who sin against God obviously.
When we see that someone is sinning, we may warn them not to sin anymore individually first.
We may say this because we love them and care about them.
We may give honest feedback.

Concerning not judging another person, Jesus practiced like this.
It was when his students asked him how to judge a blind man.
You remember that, right?
We talk about this before.

But let’s rethink again: John 9:1–7
Jesus and his disciples saw a man blind from birth.
The students asked Jesus:
“Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

The students wanted to judge this man or his parents.
But Jesus didn’t want his student to think like this.
Jesus didn’t want them to find faults.

Jesus wanted them to understand how God is working right now.
So Jesus said:
“Neither this man nor his parents sinned.
But this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him.
As long as it is day, we must do the works of him who sent me.
Night is coming, when no one can work.
While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

Jesus is even saying today:
“With me, everything is possible.
So stop judging anyone.
But use the power of God to heal the world.
This is what is like to live my life.”

After saying like this, he spit on the ground, made some mud with the saliva, and put it on the man’s eyes.
Jesus told him:
“Go, wash in the Pool of Siloam (Sent).”

So the man went and washed, and came home seeing.
Jesus was saying that living like this is easier, lighter and happier.
So Jesus chose to heal the man instead of judging.
Jesus didn’t say no words of judging or condemning the man.
But Jesus saw what is possible with God.
What is possible with God who can make all things new?

Because with God, everything is possible.
So we expect God’s healing power work among us.
We pray for God to work with us.
We expect Jesus to change lives according to God’s will.
We know Jesus God can change their mind and thoughts and their life.
Jesus can change the world as we give up judging.

As our church does not judge anyone, what will happen?
When people are not judged here, they grow freely.
When we don’t impose our belief, our view, we give another person a freedom to think and talk.
As they do. they usually find God.

We know where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.
In that freedom, people find God who works in their hearts.
In this freedom of the Holy Spirit, people grow well.
In this freedom of the Holy Spirit, we become God's children.
We become God’s image on earth.

So we don't even condemn ourselves.
But then sometimes, our hearts may condemn us or judge us.
But then still we know God is more powerful than our hearts.
God knows everything but chooses to forgive us.

So when we ask God to forgive us, God forgives us.
In order to forgive us like that, Jesus became a man.
In order to forgive us, Jesus was humiliated.
In order to forgive us, Jesus suffered and died on the cross.
It was not easy even for God to forgive us.
But God chose to forgive us.

So secondly, Jesus said like this:
“Forgive.
And you will be forgiven.”

Jesus who forgives us requires us to forgive all people.
It may be not easy for us to forgive other people.
But Jesus requires us to forgive.
Otherwise, we are not forgiven.
There is no alternative in this.
We need to forgive to be forgiven.
Otherwise we may experience a life of hell in our minds.

We forgive, because our inner life depends on it.
We forgive because we can not be mentally healthy without it.
Only then we may be also physically and spiritually healthy.

So we forgive our neighbors.
We pray for them and bless them.
We pray for their family.
Seeing them in our mind’s eyes, we pray for their life.
We ask God to bless them.
We pray until we forgive them.

I also learned that forgiving a person is not a one time event.
Forgiving another person can be a long process.
I learn that I need to continually forgive them because sometimes, I remember what they did before and get mad all over again.
When I find this kind of old grudges in my own heart again, I need to pray again to forgive the same person that I have forgiven before.
Do you experience something like this?

Then I need to say again in my prayer:
“Jesus, forgive them.
Bless them and bless their family.
I forgive them.
Help me to forgive them.”

I may need to pray for them regularly until I die.
I may need to pray and forgive them regularly.

Doing so, I may learn how difficult it was for God to forgive me.
As I try to forgive, I may learn what God has really done for me in Jesus.

Anyway, as we pray for them and bless them, God may bless us.
God may give us the power of forgiveness and the forgiving heart of Jesus.
Then we may experience Jesus and God’s forgiving grace.

Since I am like this, I don’t demand anyone to forgive another person.
I don’t think I can say:
“I have forgiven my people.
You forgive your people.”

They may take longer time to forgive.
They may take longer time to begin this process of forgiveness.
So I rather wait and pray for them.
I pray for them and wait for them to forgive another person.

As we wait and pray, God may help their heart and mind to forgive another person.
Then God may restore their relationships.

Thirdly, Jesus said:
“Give what you want to receive.
Give.
And you will receive.
The measure you give is the measure you will receive.”

A pastor translated these verses like this:
“Give away your life.
You’ll find life given back, with bonus and blessing.
Giving is the way of the abundant life.
Generosity begets generosity.”

Many people have learned this and spoken similar things.
It seems even some non christian learned this lesson.
Here are some examples:

"Life is an echo.
What you send out, comes back.
What you sow, you reap.
What you give, you get:
Life is an echo.
It always gets back to you."

"Whatever you give to life, it gives you back.
If you give hatred, you get hatred.
So do not hate anybody.
The hatred which comes out of you will someday come back to you.
So love all.
Then love will come back to you."

"The more you give the more you get back.
That's the way love works."

It seems that many people have learned over the years:
What you give, you get back.
You get the things that you give out.
So do you want to change your life?
Change what you give out and the way you think.
Then you change your life and their lives.

In other words, if we want to live peacefully, be peaceful.
If we want people to be nice to each other, be nice to them.
If we want people to be honest, be honest.
If we want people to be true to us, be true to them.
If we want to have freedom, give freedom to other people.
If we want people to think good thoughts, think good thoughts ourselves.
If we want people to understand us, try to understand them.
If we help people, people help us.
We do as we want them to do for us.

“Whatever you are, be a good one.
Then other people may also become good ones.”
Also as we feel peaceful, we attract those who live peacefully.
As we trust in God, we attract those who trust in God.
As we are full of the Holy Spirit, we attract those who are full of the Holy Spirit.

We may also realize what James 1: 17 said:
“From the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change, every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift is coming down.”

Without changing based on our behaviors, God gives the perfect gift.
God does not change in terms of his giving.
Continually God gives what is perfect.
Because God is perfect, even though we are imperfect, God can make us God’s people.
Then God may use us to give out these heavenly gifts.
As God gives, we may give along with God.
Sometimes, God may ask us to do little things for others.
We obey and do these little things for them.
Then God will remember us and bless us because we obey little things.
Then strangely, those little things occupy the big part of their hearts.
Like this, we may follow Jesus.

Today we think about these three things: not judge, but forgive and give.
As we do we follow Jesus.
By the grace of God, if we can do these things, we may experience more of Jesus.
In the grace of God, if we find ourselves live like this, we experience God working among us.

May God transform us to forgive and give peace and love, as God forgives us and gives peace and love.
In God’s grace, if our family can live like this, we may see more of God who works in our lives and in our hearts.
We may find more inner peace because of Jesus.
By the grace of God, if our family can live like this, we may help people and influence our world according to God’s will.
Then we may be also grateful understanding who God is.

By the grace of God, if our church be able to practice these things that Jesus said today, God’s thoughts and God’s wisdom may work freely among us according to God’s nature.
Then God may change us and the world.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for giving your life for us.
Thank you for giving us good teachings.
Help us to obey and become faithful and fruitful.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen.

7.16.2016

Philippians 2: 5-11 (3)

ppt

Humility and Dream (vision)
Reading: Philippians 2: 5-11, Philippians 2:6-8
Additional readings: Gen 37:5-11, Gen 45:7-9
Blanks: mindset, equality, servant, humbled, above, glory

Have you ever watched a Korean drama called “Dae Jang Geum (jewel in the palace)”?
I heard about it over and over.
I heard that in Iran, many people loved this drama.
It was so popular.
So recently I watched this drama.

I guess it is a bit fictional story of Jang Gum.
Through various events, she became a person who helped many people.

In this story, we see that Jang Gum had various teachers.
They noticed that she had a good intellect and a lot of energy.

But some of them wanted her to have a humble attitude.
Some of them wanted to have a right attitude toward life.
She was learning slowly about humility and patience.
Then as she learned more and gained more medical knowledge, she was able to help many people.

The story of Joseph is similar in a sense.
I am sure you have read the story of Joseph in the Bible, right?
I am sure that you are very familiar with the story.

Do you know that even Disney made a movie out of it?
It is called "Joseph King of Dreams"?
Have you watched the movie?

Anyway, let me briefly summarize the story of Joseph, ok?
Joseph was his father’s favorite.
His father loved him more than any other sons.
So his brother had a very different opinion about this Joseph.

Then one day, Joseph was starting to have dreams.
Through dreams, he learned about his future.
He learned that he would be a great leader and even his brothers and family would bow down to him.

But then he made a mistake.
He told his dream to his family.
Then Joseph really made his brother upset.
They didn’t want to hang out with him anymore.
He really evoked his brothers' jealousy.

Then, one day when his brothers got a chance, they threw him into the pit.
Then they sold him into slavery.
So Joseph was taken to Egypt from Israel.
There he worked as a slave.
He had to learn to speak Egyptian and learn to live there.
He lived like this without his earthly father who loved him in Israel.

But it seemed that Joseph trusted that God would make the dream come true.
He continually tried to live well and faithful to God.

But even then unfortunately, he was thrown even into a prison.
There he might have really questioned about his dream.
Joseph couldn’t understand what happened.
He had no idea how his dreams would come to pass.

In the place like this, people may make mistakes feeling that God does not help.
Then they may worry and choose to do wrong things.
But Joseph decided to wait for God and continually do what is right even here.

At this time, we come to this portion of movie at "Joseph King of Dreams."
So, let’s watch this.
Here Joseph was in prison looking back his life.
Let’s listen carefully to the lyric of the song.
Because it may explain about the mind of Joseph:
https://youtu.be/8oL6HlzQZLo


His dream brought him to this prison.
He was growing as a person.
Joseph was getting ready.
He was trained to save a lot of people.
After all these humbling experiences he was able to save many people.

The lyric of this song goes like this: (Written by John Bucchino, Dallyn Vail Bayles)
I thought I did what's right
I thought I had the answers
I thought I chose the surest road
But that road brought me here
So I put up a fight and told God how to help me
Now just when I have given up the truth is coming clear

You know better than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
For You know better than I

If this has been a test
I cannot see the reason
But maybe knowing I don't know is part of getting through
I tried to do what's best
But faith has made it easy
To see the best thing I can do
Is to put my trust in You

For You know better than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
For You know better than I
For You know better than I

I saw one cloud and thought it was a sky (a mistaken thought)
I saw a bird and thought that I could follow (a mistaken thought)
But it was You who taught that bird to fly (I start to see you and live humbly)
If I let You reach me
Will You teach me

For You know better than I
You know the way
I've let go the need to know why
I'll take what answers you supply
You know better than I

After these experiences, God helped him to get out of the prison.
He found himself in the right place just like his dream told him many years ago.

You know the story:
Joseph was called to interpret the Pharaoh's dreams.
When Joseph heard the dreams of the king of Egypt, he understood that this dream was saying that there would be 7 years of great harvest and then 7 years of famine.
So the Pharaoh trusted him and gave him power and authority.

With this new power and authority, he worked to save enough grains during 7 plentiful years.
Then he and Egypt was ready to face 7 years of severe famine.

Then during 7 years of famine, Joseph saved many people who came to him and Egypt.
During those 7 years of famine, he could continually provide food to everyone who came to him.
In this way, his dream came true.

During this time, even his brothers came to ask for food.
Then later his family came to Egypt and lived there.
Then he was able to meet his father again.

But if you read the Bible, after his father Jacob passed away, those brothers said to Joseph something like this:
“We are so sorry that we have sold you into Egypt.
We apologize for all the things we have done against you.
Now, please accept us as your slaves."

But then Joseph grew this much to say something like this:
"Don’t be afraid.
Am I in the place of God?
Even though you intended to harm me, God intended it for good.
God has sent me here to save many people from famine.
That is what God has done here.
So don’t be afraid.
I will provide for you and your children."

Joseph understood God who knew better than he.
Joseph experienced God enough to be humble like this.
Then he forgive them.
Joseph had grown up this much.
God helped him grow this much, because God wanted to use Joseph.

(2) Joseph might have understood this graph:
At first, God humbled Joseph.
God trained him and protected him.
Then Joseph learned to be patient and humble.
Then God honored him and lifted him high.
God made the dream come true.

Jesus also understood this graph:
Before he went through anything, he understood this graph.
Then he went through it all for us.
What does that mean?

When Jesus had a great dream of saving all people, he voluntarily humbled himself.
Jesus was God.
But Jesus voluntarily became poor and powerless.
He voluntarily lived a life of sufferings.
Jesus understood in order to save all the people, he needed to start from here.

(3) Today’s scripture explained this very well:
Even though Jesus is God, he humbled himself and became a man.
After becoming a man, he humbled himself even more.
Then he obeyed God and died on a cross!
Jesus chose to live humbly and obediently, because he believed in the humble God who is so powerful.

So God lifted him high and honored him far beyond anyone or anything, because the Son of God voluntarily humbled himself like this.
Then God wanted that everyone should bow down and worship Jesus.
Everyone should confess that Jesus Christ is the Master of all and that Jesus is the glory of God.

The humble God wants all people to worship the humble Jesus.
So, we come here to worship Jesus who is humble and kind.

But here is something more.
We may become like Joseph and Jesus.

I mean God is still speaking and still gives God’s dreams to people.
You know, God may give you God’s dreams or God’s callings.
You may already know what God’s dreams is for you.

When you receive God’s dreams, and God’s calling, and if you said yes to that dream and calling, what do you think God may teach you next?

God may teach you to be humble and patient.
When that lesson is over, God may bring you to the right place so that you may serve many people.
God may save many people and help many people through you.
In this way, God may make the dream come true.

When we receive God’s dreams, or God’s calling, as a family, what do you think God may teach our family?
God may teach our family to be humble and patient.
When that lesson is over, God may bring us to the right place where our family may serve many people.
Then God may save many people and help many people through our family.

When we receive God’s dreams, or God’s calling, as a church, what do you think God may teach us?
God may teach this church to be humble and patient.
When that lesson is over, God may bring us to the right place where this church may serve many people.
Then God may save many people and help many people through this church.
Like this, God’s dream may come true.
Right?
May we be able to learn the lesson and become God’s conduit for God’s blessing.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, you are amazingly humble.
You are amazingly patient and loving.
So, you have the name above every name.

So, we come here to worship you and honor you.
May we worship and honor you through our life.
We pray this in your name.
Amen.

Note:
faith

7.09.2016

The Gospel of Luke (God's hearts for the poor and those in need)

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The Gospel of Luke (God's hearts for the poor and those in need)
Reading: Luke 10:25-37
Additional readings: Luke 7:1-10, Luke 12:16-21 Luke 15:11-32, Luke 16:19-31
Blanks: divided, servants, food, compassion, ran, robe, celebrate, pleaded, everything

Two weeks ago, we study how the gospel of Luke explained about the prayer life of Jesus.
Today we are going to study about the gospel of Luke from a different angle.

Have you read the gospel of Luke?
Who is the author of this gospel?
Right.
Luke was the author of the Gospel of Luke and the book of Acts.
He was not a Jew.
But he knew the Old Testament very well.
Luke was probably from Antioch which was not far from Israel.
And Luke became the gentile who wrote the majority of New Testament.

Luke might have written this gospel and the book of Acts to release Paul from prison.
Luke might have written this book for Theophilus who might have been a defense lawyer or a judge for Paul’s case.
Maybe that is why in the book of Acts, we read the same testimony of Paul three times.

Anyway, Luke was a medical doctor and an educated person.
He was the one who risked his life to stayed with Paul when Paul was in his last prison: “Luke the beloved physician” Col 4: 14
Some said Luke might have martyred soon after Paul martyred.

Let’s think about how Luke wrote his gospel.
Even though he read about other gospels, he decided to research carefully to write about what really happened.
So he met eyewitnesses.
He asked questions and gathered information about who Jesus was.
In this way he wrote the Gospel of Luke.

When we read this gospel, we notice that Luke was very interested in helping the poor.
Luke was interested in how Jesus helped the poor and preached for the poor and those in need.
So today we're going to have a look at them in order one by one:

In Luke 1:46-55, we read what is known as Mary’s Song.
Here Mary the mother of Jesus said: Luke 1:52-53
"God has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.”
Like this, from the start, Luke is saying that Jesus is for the poor.

In Luke 6:20-26, Jesus said something like this:
(we see a similar writing in Matthew chapters 5-7)
“Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God.
Blessed are you who hunger now, because you will be satisfied.
Blessed are you who weep now, because you will laugh.
Blessed are you when people hate you, when they exclude you and insult you and reject your name as evil, because of me, Jesus.
Rejoice in that day and jump for joy, because your reward is great in heaven, and because God’s prophets are supposed to be treated like that.”

In the gospel of Matthew we read:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”
But in the gospel of Luke we read:
“Blessed are you who are poor.”

In the gospel of Matthew we read:
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”
But in the gospel of Luke we read:
“Blessed are you who hunger now.”

Luke wrote this book when Christians might have been persecuted for living for Jesus.
So Luke reminds his readers that God blesses those who are poor, hungry, weep and persecuted

Then Luke said:
“But woe to you who are rich, for you have already received your comfort.
Woe to you who are well fed now, for you will go hungry.
Woe to you who laugh now, for you will mourn and weep.
Woe to you when everyone speaks well of you, for that is how their ancestors treated the false prophets.”

Luke also believed that Jesus has come to bless the poor.
Luke understood that Jesus wanted to help the poor.
Luke believed that the gospel must be preached to the poor.
That is the will of God.

Luke is the only one who wrote this following story in Luke 10:25-37:
Someone asks Jesus:
“What must I do to have eternal life?”
Jesus answers:
“Love God and love neighbors.”

Then the person asks:
“Who is my neighbors?”

Jesus was like:
“Everyone.
Show mercy to everyone:

To explain this, Jesus told this story. (Luke 10: 30, 33-37)
It is called the story of the Good Samaritan:
You know this story, right?

(1) There was a Jewish guy.
Some thieves came and beat him badly and left him unconscious.
When he was like this in need of help, some religious professionals came by but would not care for him.

Then, the “Samaritan” man came.
He helped this man.
He didn't know the man personally.
And he was busy.
But he stopped to save a life.
The Samaritan was kind and compassionate.
So he showed God’s compassion to the one in need.

Why does Jesus make a Samaritan the hero of this story?
What does a Samaritan mean in this story?

Samaritan represent a people group that we don’t like for whatever reasons.
It may be because they are religiously different or politically different.
They may be ethnically different or legally different.

Jesus was like:
“Look at this Good Samaritan.
He was good to a stranger who was religiously and socially different.
He was kind to him.
Love your neighbor like him.
Do good to those in need.
Help those in need, as God helps you.”

That is what God wanted to teach to Prophet Jonah concerning the people of Nineveh.
That is what Jesus wanted to teach Jewish people concerning Samaritans.
God created everyone and loves everyone.
God wants everyone to live and practice compassion.
This is God’s hope.

Then Luke told another story to encourage people to share their wealth in God’s way: Luke 12:16-21.
In the story Jesus said:
One person became very rich one day.
Then he became a victim of his greed.
Then he tried to use all his money only for his enjoyment and his retirement.
He even said to himself like this:
“Self, now, take it easy, eat, drink and be happy!”

But God was like:
“You are a steward of God’s wealth.
You need to use your money in God’s way.
God has given you this wealth so that you may live for God and for those in need.
Otherwise, God will find someone else who live for God and for God’s poor.”

Telling this story, Jesus may be saying:
“Be a good neighbor, as God.
Show compassion to everyone.”

Then in Luke 14:12-14, Jesus said this to his host who invited him for a meal:
"When you give a luncheon or dinner, do not invite your friends, your brothers or relatives, or your rich neighbors.
If you do, they may invite you back and so you will be repaid.
But when you give a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame, the blind, and you will be blessed.
Although they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous."

Jesus was like:
“Be a good neighbor to those in need.”

Luke was writing like this because the church of Jesus the Christ lives practicing compassion.
They helped the poor and those in need, as Jesus asked them to be kind to the poor and those in need.
So Luke was able to write like this.

Jesus was persuading people to be kind to those in need.
Jesus encourages people to help because God really loves them.

Luke is asking more people to be kind to the poor, because then they may experience God’s blessing.
Luke is asking them to use their wealth for God like this.
Then they will be blessed forever.

God is interested in the poor and helping them through his people.
God may use his church to do so.

Then only in Luke 15:11-32, we read the story of prodigal son:
In this story, the younger brother left home and lived a not-so-good life.
Then he became really poor.
He might have become a homeless.

The question was:
Should we welcome this kind of man?

What did his older brother say?
No.
The older brother was really mad at him for wasting all those money.
The older brother didn’t want his younger brother anymore.
If this poor younger brother came back, he might have wanted to punish him because of his past sinful life.

But when this poor younger son came home, the father does not judge him or try to punish him.
Instead, the father welcomes him and forgives him.
This younger son wasted his life and his wealth, and became poor.
But the father welcomed him and loved him and forgave him.
The father celebrated the fact that his younger son came home.
Then this poor son became God’s child again and enjoy God’s wealth and God’s love.
God is like this father.
This father represents God who is also Jesus who is also compassion.

God wants his older son to live like God.
God asks his righteous son to live a good life like God.
God asks his older son to welcome the poor child, because he is now God’s child.
God asks his older son to share his wealth and take care of the poor child.

Then in Luke 16:19-31 Luke wrote a story that Jesus told concerning the poor.
It is the story of the Rich man and Lazarus:.
Do you remember the story?
Lazarus was poor but after his death, he went to heaven to be with Abraham.
The rich man was rich but after his death, he went to a place like a hell.

This story does not explain why Lazarus went to heaven to be with Abraham.
The only reason that we know is that Lazarus was poor.
This story does not explain why the rich went to a place like hell.
The only reason that we know is that he was rich.

It seems through this story Jesus was saying something like this to the rich:
“Remember to help the poor, God’s poor.
Then, God will bless you eternally.”

Compared to many people in this world, we are rich.
Many people don't even have religious freedom and social freedom.
Many people don’t even have some basic necessary.
We know that there are those who are poorer than us.

So Jesus may ask us to look after the poor and live a life of compassion.
God may ask us to support and send money to help them.
Jesus may ask us to pray for them.
Jesus may ask us to think about how to help those in need.
Jesus may let us know where to send our mission money.

God wants to help those in need.
God may help them through us.
So we allow God to use us.
We pray that God may be able to bless people through us.

Again Jesus does not ask us to do these things by our own power but to do these things in the power of the Holy Spirit and in the name of Jesus.
When we follow God’s leading, we experience God’s power.
Then we may also experience even more abundant life.
Then we may be able to bless more people.

We want to help because God’s heart becomes our hearts.
We are thankful that we could use our donation for various mission projects and for those in need.

But we are also prayerfully searching for a right mission opportunity, because we want to use our resource well.
I believe Jesus would let us (not only me) know where to send money.
When we follow God’s leading, we may experience God’s blessing as well.
Amen.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, thank you for teaching us about God who loves all people.
Teach us and guide us how to love and care for those in need, like you.
May we obey you and live like you.
In Jesus’ name, we pray.
Amen

7.02.2016

Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20 (1)

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The manual for 72 (12 * 6 = 72)
Reading: Luke 10: 1-11, 16-20
Additional readings: Luke 9:51-62, Luke 14: 15-24
Blanks: two by two, Go, Peace, Heal, submit, rejoice

We heard this before:
From the very beginning of his ministry, Jesus focused on training 12 students.
After they grew to be his disciples, Jesus gave them power to heal the sick and cast our demons.
Then Jesus sent them two by two to teach other people.
And they were able to do what Jesus asked.
They learned what was like to live Jesus.

Then Jesus trained more people.
Since his 12 apostles were also able to help him now, it became easier.
Because of his first 12, Jesus took a lesser time to train new students.
Jesus could train more people and chose 72 students out of them.
It was 6 times more than the previous 12: (12 * 6 = 72)
Jesus empowered 72 students and got them ready to live his life.
Then Jesus sent them off two by two to proclaim God’s peace.

But do you think that it was easy to be part of the 72?
Do you think that it was easy to be trained by Jesus?
Well, I am not sure whether I could be in these 72.
Why?
Because the teacher Jesus was traveling all the time.
Jesus slept outside and lived like a homeless when he found no place to stay.
And his students were supposed to stay with Jesus.

So, just like me, some of his students seemed to want to go home and relax awhile.
They might have wanted some comfort of their home.
So, they asked:
“Jesus, can I go home?
I need to take care of something at home.
After that, I will be right back.” (smile)

But, about this time, Jesus said something like this:
“Yo! My life is about to be over very soon.
So, I need to teach you how to live my life.
Don’t look back, because you just started to work with me.”

When Jesus chose right persons, Jesus encouraged them to commit themselves to follow him.
Then, Jesus trained them until they were ready.
Then out of seventy-two, Jesus made 36 individual groups.
Then Jesus sent them, two by two.
But before they go out, Jesus gave this guideline for the 72:

Jesus said something like this:
“I have spread my seeds.
Now you are harvesters!
But we need more harvesters.
So, pray that God send more harvesters.
That is your job as harvesters as well.
As you go out, pray that we have more harvesters working with us.

“You are going out to share God’s peace.
I am sending you out like lambs among wolves.
So, be like lambs.
Be humble and patient.
Then even some of the wolves will turn into lambs like you.
Trust me.
I will be with you in this journey of faith.

“Don’t take any money with you.
Don’t take any bag.
Don’t take any extra pair of shoes.
Why?
Because in this evangelical journey, you are not supposed to give money to people.
You are not supposed to share anything else but my power.
Only thing that you can give people is what I give to you.
For this journey, if you need anything, I will provide.
I will provide what you need as well: all the necessary stuff.
You will also meet generous people."

This is a different kinds of mission.
This is a mission with God’s power.
No earthly power is needed or used.
They receive the power of God and use it.

There are other times when we use our money.
We may use what we have.
We we may send money to support various mission project.
We may send money to the poor.

But in this evangelistic mission, we don’t use money.
We don’t use what's in our bag.
In fact, we don’t bring our bag.
We use the power that we receive from Jesus Christ.
And we heal like Jesus and proclaim the kingdom of God.

Jesus continued:
“Don’t greet anyone on the road.
Don’t waste your time like that.
Instead, go straight to their home.
Then, say:
‘Peace be with you.’
If they receive your blessing, if they welcome you, the peace will stay with them.
So stay there.
Eat what is offered to you.
But don’t go from house to house.
Instead, stay there, heal the sick and say that the Kingdom of God is very close, as Jesus is very close.”

The method of Jesus is to send two persons into various homes.
Jesus wants something beautiful happen in their homes.
So Jesus sends two persons to proclaim God’s peace in their homes.
Two persons are supposed to help that family.
Two persons are called to serve each family.

Jesus continued:
“But if they don’t welcome you and don’t receive your blessing, the blessing will return to you.
Take it back and get out.
If the whole town doesn’t welcome you, then go into its streets and say:
‘The only thing we got from you is the dust on our feet.
We are giving it back.
But understand this:
You were very close to the kingdom of God.
But you missed it.
Jesus was very close.
But you missed it.’”

Then Jesus said:
“Whoever listens to you listens to me.
Whoever listens to me, listens to God who sent me.”

The students of Jesus were imperfect and immature people.
They were having problems among themselves.
They were still struggling because of other person’s sinful behavior.
But Jesus gave them power and said:
“Whoever listens to you listens to me.”

I wonder whether Jesus gave too much power to them.
They were human students.
But Jesus trusts that it would go well.
They would say right things as the Holy Spirit is with them.
Jesus was willing to give his power to them.
It was ok that they were not perfect.
God can still work through them.
Jesus trusts that God can use them to do a good job.
God’s power would work through them to do what God wanted to do.
Jesus might have loved to see their process of growing.

As for his students, it was a good chance to practice what Jesus taught.
In this way, they understood how Jesus was ministering to people.
It was a good chance to learn how to minister like Jesus.

Then, they came back, rejoicing.
They were like:
“Lord Jesus, even the demons obey us when we use your name!”

They were able to talk about Jesus in his power.
They could live like Jesus and act like Jesus.
Then they understood how Jesus was moving in the power of Holy Spirit.
They understood how to visit other people in God’s power.

Then what did Jesus say?
Jesus was like:
“I know.
I have given you power over the demons.
So, nothing will harm you.
But, do not rejoice because demons obey you.
What you need to rejoice is that your names are written in the book of life.
Rejoice that you are God’s people now.
Remember that.
Then you will be able to continually work with God forever.”

Jesus may help us grow spiritually and get us ready to be his harvesters, like his 72.
Jesus may send some of us two by two.
Jesus may ask us to visit various homes.

But some of us may not be ready or not wish to be part of these 72.
We may say we may have another plan to do another ministry.
We may want to support those 72.
We may want to send money to those 72.
We may want to use our gifts and talents to help them.
Or we may say that we need to grow spiritually.

Or we may want to pray for those 72 harvesters.
Well, yes at least it is good that we pray for them and bless them.
Jesus may ask us to pray that they may experience God's mercy.
As we pray for them, we may learn something more of Jesus.

I understand that some of us may not want to go.
We may say that we want to welcome people into our home instead.

But then Jesus may ask some of us to go and visit another family.
Jesus may send us to obey, and visit someone’s home in Jesus’ name and do the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Jesus may send us to heal the sick and proclaim the kingdom of God.
In this way, we may learn together to live like Jesus.

Some of us may help people like this, and find joy.
We may learn to explain and understand who Jesus is.
As we share the story of Jesus, we may learn to live like Jesus.
We may learn how the Holy Spirit may use us.
We may learn how the Holy Spirit may speak among us.
We may be surprised by what we may learn.
We may sense the presence of God with us.
As we go in Jesus’ name, we may learn what no other person could teach us.
As we go in Jesus’ name, we may learn how Jesus may use two of us to problem the gospel.
This could be our first hand experience.

I think I am learning more and more about Jesus because I am a pastor.
I learn more and more because I have to preach.
Sometimes, I sense that God guides me and teaches me and gives something to say, because I am a pastor.
So I learn how the Holy Spirit may work through us.
I sense the presence of God.
So I learn about how the presence of God could heal and make us whole.

Or we may learn our spiritual condition.
Wesley also learned about the presence of God after finishing his first mission trip.
He learned how weak he was.
He learned how much more there is with God.

As we go in Jesus’ name, we may learn more.
Jesus may be happy to see us grow in this.
We may learn what is like to work with God.
We learn what kind of God we serve.
We learn more and more to be a friend of God.

What would happen when two of us visit various homes?
People may sense the presence of God.
They may have a chance to welcome the presence of Jesus.
Then in his presence, they may hear what God wants them to hear.
God may help them to have God’s peace in their home.
Jesus may give us words to say.
Then they may experience the mind of Jesus.

We may also feel the presence of God there.
We may learn to be used by God in his the presence.
We may learn to speak in Jesus’ name.
We may know what to say, how to say and when to say.

If in that home, there was someone who struggled feeling guilt even after confessing their sins, Jesus may guide us to say:
“God has forgiven you.
God is merciful to you.”

In the depths of their heart, they may also hear Jesus says:
“I have came to let you know that you are forgiven.
Welcome me into family life.”
Then they may live a new life in God free from sin.

In some homes, we may be guided to listen to them.
As they share their stories, we may learn how to pray for them.
As they share their stories, God may help them to think better.
Then they may learn to think better.

When we face someone who suffer with an anger problem, we may know how to help them in the name of Jesus.

As the Holy Spirit helps us, we may understand and speak right words.
The Holy Spirit will guide to be in the right place at the right time.
The Holy Spirit would lead us to do and speak his words.
It cannot go wrong.
Trusting this, we may go into their homes.

So Jesus may send some of us to go and visit various homes.
Jesus sends us to be with them so that together we may experience his presence.
Jesus sends us to experience God’s grace there.
Doing so, we may become like Jesus.
In this way we may learn to trust Jesus.
In this way we may learn to minister with Jesus.
In this way, we may learn what Jesus is trying to do today.

Let’s pray:
Jesus, help us to learn your way.
Help us to live in the way that you guide us.
May the presence of God stay with us and move with us. May God give us his presence wherever we go.
In Jesus name, we pray.
Amen.